Amelia Hansen

I’ve been making pictures for my entire life.

Okay, I know that can’t possibly be true but it seems like it. I was drawing before I could read or write, though that’s not unusual, just about everybody does. Maybe it’s my long devotion to picture-making that makes it seem more like a calling than a hobby . . . there’s a photo of me at age three sitting in a booster chair at the kitchen table in my footy pajamas, a watercolor set and half-finished painting in front of me, glaring with annoyance at the camera for having had my concentration broken. Though I wanted to be a zookeeper when I grew up, it hasn’t surprised me at all that I became an illustrator instead.

Even as a little kid, my favorite subjects were animals and it seems that the struggle to make them ‘look real’ has been with me for as long as the impulse to draw them. Trying to make them ‘look real’ once only meant matching my crayon colors to the pictures in the Golden Guide, but as I’ve matured as an artist I’ve found that making an accurate representation of an animal (or plant, landscape, human being, etc.) involves so much more: anatomy and pose, habitat and lighting, composition and gesture, energy and spirit. Despite my many years of work, I feel as if the gulf between my creations and reality has not narrowed one little bit, in fact, it may be even wider! This realization can be very discouraging and frustrating. But sometimes the effort itself is almost meditation and then I’m thankful knowing that I will always have this search, this practice, in my life.

I earned a BFA in 1987 from Western Michigan University with an emphasis in watercolor and have worked as a freelance illustrator since 1989. Since becoming a professional illustrator, my focus has been on nature and natural science subjects and my images are used most frequently to reach general audiences through interpretive exhibits and books. I create my artwork primarily by hand, using watercolor, pen & ink, colored pencil, graphite, acrylic, or a combination of these — sometimes with the addition of digital techniques. I also enjoy doing panel layout and design, and just recently finished a large job in which I designed and illustrated most of the indoor exhibits for a new nature education center located near Lake Michigan.

As artist and interpreter, I feel it’s my role to draw people’s attention to the natural world. Whether it’s by explaining an ecological process, pointing out the seldom seen, or exploring the mysterious, I hope to introduce the natural world to those who are unfamiliar with it and celebrate it with those who love it as I do.

ameliahansen.com

Products by Amelia Hansen

The following products include artwork and/or writing by Amelia Hansen. Most products are a collaboration of the wonderful artists and writers who have contributed to Acorn Designs over the years.

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A Tale of Two Squirrels Journal

A Tale of Two Squirrels Journal

$16.00$17.00

This is a story about two similar but unique squirrels. Although they appear together in this artwork these two squirrels are never seen together. The Abert squirrel (Scuirus aberti), pictured on the left, ranges throughout isolated mountainous areas in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. The Kaibab squirrel, shown on the right and named for…

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A Tale of Two Squirrels Notecard

A Tale of Two Squirrels Notecard

$3.00

This is a story about two similar but unique squirrels. Although they appear together in this artwork these two squirrels are never seen together. The Abert squirrel (Scuirus aberti), pictured on the left, ranges throughout isolated mountainous areas in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. The Kaibab squirrel, shown on the right and named for…

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Cover image - American Toad Mini Journal

American Toad Mini Journal

$6.50

American toads are found throughout large portions of North America. They have an immense ability to adapt to their surroundings as long as there is some source of semi-permanent water they can use in the breeding season. They also require dense patches of vegetation for cover and hunting ground. Toads begin life as tadpoles after…

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Crabapple Journal

Crabapple Journal

$16.00$17.00

Crabapple (Malus sp.) Few trees create greater intrigue or visual impact during all four seasons than the flowering crabapple.  Unopened flower buds may hint of one color, but the flowers open to reveal other colors in a spectacular floral display.  In autumn, crabapple foliage and fruit transform to match the vibrant colors of an artist’s…

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Crabapple Notecard

Crabapple Notecard

$3.00

Crabapple   (Malus sp.) Few trees create greater intrigue or visual impact during all four seasons than the flowering crabapple.  Unopened flower buds may hint of one color, but the flowers open to reveal other colors in a spectacular floral display.  In autumn, crabapple foliage and fruit transform to match the vibrant colors of an…

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Cover image - Crabapples Mini Journal

Crabapples Mini Journal

$6.50

Few trees create greater intrigue or visual impact during all four seasons than the flowering crabapple. Unopened flower buds may hint of one color, but the flowers open to reveal other colors in a spectacular floral display. In autumn, crabapple foliage and fruit transform to match the vibrant colors of an artist’s palette. The genus…

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Grizzly Bear Notecard

Grizzly Bear Journal

$16.00$17.00

Grizzly Bear  (Ursus arctos) Since ancient times the bear has been regarded as a special being. Some  Native Americans believed that the Great Bear was their paternal ancestor.  Other ancient cultures believed that bears were the very voice of the earth.  Bears embody many qualities that humans are losing as we distance ourselves from a…

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Cover image - Grizzly Bear Mini Journal

Grizzly Bear Mini Journal

$6.50

Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos) Since ancient times the bear has been regarded as a special being. Native Americans believed that the Great Bear was their paternal ancestor. Ancient cultures believed that bears were the very voice of the earth. Bears embody many qualities that we humans are losing as we distance ourselves from a life…

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Add to cart
Grizzly Bear Notecard

Grizzly Bear Notecard

$3.00

Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos) Since ancient times the bear has been regarded as a special being. Some Native Americans believed that the Great Bear was their paternal ancestor. Other ancient cultures believed that bears were the very voice of the earth. Bears embody many qualities that humans are losing as we distance ourselves from a…

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Add to cart

Grizzly Bear Small Journal

$13.00$14.00

Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos) Since ancient times the bear has been regarded as a special being. Native Americans believed that the Great Bear was their paternal ancestor. Ancient cultures believed that bears were the very voice of the earth.   Bears embody many qualities that we humans are losing as we distance ourselves from a…

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Cover image - Prairies Mini Journal

Prairies Mini Journal

$6.50

Prairies are grasslands with rolling terrain and few trees due to little rainfall. There are grasslands on every continent, but the term “prairie” typically refers to the grasslands of North America. At one time the North American prairie covered 433 million acres, but today only about 1-2 percent of the original prairie still exists. A…

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Tale of Two Squirrels Small Journal

$13.00$14.00

A Tale of Two Squirrels This is a story about two similar but unique squirrels. Although they appear together in this artwork these two squirrels are never seen together. The Abert squirrel (Scuirus aberti), pictured on the left, ranges throughout isolated mountainous areas in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. The Kaibab squirrel, shown on…

Read More
Select options